Civil society organisations say President Cyril Ramaphosa has ignored a promise he made last year to the deaf community that the sign language will become the 12th official language. They say a year later, nothing has been done by government to ensure that the sign language receives the recognition it deserves.
An organisation called Tourism Friendly that organises beauty pageants for deaf people says recognising sign language would uplift the deaf community.
Its director, Ian Gunn, says the president and his cabinet should learn sign language as an apology to deaf people.
“The president announced that sign language was going to be the 12th official language very shortly. Now very shortly, I don’t know if that means; one week, one year or 10 years. But it is past 380 days and we heard nothing from the president. These people that are having a hearing disability should not be penalised because of their language,” adds Gunn.
The deaf community calls on the government to expedite the inclusion of sign language as one of the country’s official languages: